My Adventure Through Our Family Tree Branches

For over 50 years my Dad researched both his and my Mom's family tree branches - and loved every minute of it! Trying to fulfill the promise I made him the last month of his life, I have spent the past four years continuing where he left off - finding out about all the many family members who came before us, from the many branches of our family trees. The histories will still be published as my Dad always wanted. But what he wanted most was to share the stories of the people who came before us - the places they lived, the cultures of the times, the families they created, and the circumstances - good and bad - that would one day lead to us, their descendants. These are the stories of my Mom's families. . . .

Surnames in this Blog


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

WEDNESDAY'S WEDDING - Flemming-Lambert Wedding 1910

Charles Clinton Flemming, Jr. (1884-1936) married Katherine Aurelia Lambert (1885-1935) on January 26, 1910, in Atlanta, Georgia. Charles, my great-great-uncle, is the son of Charles Clinton Flemming (1854-1932) and Elizabeth Agnes McCaffrey (1858-1922), my great-great-grandparents, the fifth of their eleven children. Charles, Jr., is the younger brother of my great-grandfather Harry Clinton Flemming (1878-1955).

This was not Charles' first marriage. He had married to Marie Sophia Fidger (1884-1908) on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 1903, in Birmingham, Alabama. They were both nineteen at the time of their wedding. The following year they had their only child, Florence Elizabeth Flemming. Unfortunately, their happiness was short lived. Sophia died in childbirth on September 15, 1908. Florence, just 4 years old, moved in with her grandparents - they would eventually take full legal custody of her.

Charles worked for his father's business, Charlie's Transfer, in Birmingham, first as a clerk then later as the company's vice-president. His bride Kate, as she was called, was born in Atlanta, Georgia, the daughter of Joseph W. Lambert (1830-1914), an immigrant from Belgium, and Mary Agnes Monaghan (1843-1920). When Kate and Charles were married she was 24, he was 25.
On January 2, 1910, the Atlanta Constitution announced the couple's engagement - "LAMBERT-FLEMMING  Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lambert announce the engagement of their daughter Katherine Amelia, to Mr. Charles Clinton Flemming, Jr., of Birmingham, Ala., the wedding to take place January 26, at St. Anthony's Chapel, West End."

The story of their wedding appeared in the same newspaper on January 27th of the same year:
Wedding Announcement
Jan. 27, 1910
"The marriage of Miss Katherine Lambert and Mr. Charles Clinton Flemming, Jr., was an event of interest yesterday, assembling a large acquaintance.
     The ceremony at 4:30 o'clock was performed by Father o. N. Jackson at the Church of St. Anthony, in West End, and was followed by a supper at which were gathered the attendants and relatives as the guests of the bride's parents, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Lambert, in West End. In the evening from 8 until 10 o'clock, there was a large wedding reception.
     The church was artistically decorated with foliage plants, narcissus and carnations, and at the home the same the same flowers with plants and ferns were used with effective taste. An orchestra provided the music for the reception, and an elaborate hospitality was enjoyed.
     The bride made a charming picture in her wedding gown of satin and old lace, and her flowers were bride's roses with a shower of valley lilies.
     The matron of honor, Mrs. Wm. McAlphin, wore white satin draped with white marquisette embroidered with pink roses, her lace hat was trimmed with white plumes, and she carried American Beauty roses.
     The maid of honor, Miss Imogen (sic) Flemming, of Birmingham, and the bridesmaids, Misses Agnes Klein, Kate McGee, Monica Callahan, wore white broadcloth with white beaver hats trimmed with plumes, and their flowers were Meteor roses.
     The groomsmen were Mr. Clem Lambert, best man, Mr. James Jordan, of Birmingham, Mr. Thomas Lambert, Mr. James Flemming, of Birmingham, Mr. James Flynn.
     Mrs. Joseph Lambert, the bride's mother, was gowned in black satin, and assisting in entertainment, Mrs. Ed. Lambert, wore white chiffon cloth embroidered in pink geraniums, Mrs. J.P. Lambert wore old rose chiffon cloth, and Mrs. Michael Lambert wore white crepe de chine.
     Mr. and Mrs. Flemming went east on their wedding trip, and they will make their home in Birmingham where he is prominently and pleasantly known."

It's interesting to note that Charles' younger sister Elizabeth Imogene "Imo" Flemming (1886-1919) served as Kate's maid of honor, while one of Kate's older brothers, Clement Lee "Clem" Lambert (1880-1971) was Charles' best man. One of Charles' younger brother, James Benjamin Flemming (1889-1932), also served as a groomsman. Imo must have been a family favorite - she was also the maid of honor at the wedding of her oldest sister Susie Elizabeth Flemming (1879-1908), in 1906.

Charles and Kate set up their home at 1422 Thirteenth Place South on Birmingham's Southside. They went on to have seven children: Mary Agnes "Mike" Flemming, born November 1, 1910; Dorothy May Flemming, born January 1914 [she died July 4, 1915]; Charles Clinton "Hap" Flemming III, born May 15, 1916; James Benjamin Flemming and his twin brother Joseph Lambert Flemming, born May 5, 1918; Thomas Anthony "Tom" Flemming, born May 11, 1923; and Katherine Loretta "Katie" Flemming, born August 9, 1925.

Charles died on May 30, 1935, when his appendix burst. Then, just a little over 3 months later, Kate, too, passed away after a long illness. Charles was 51, Kate just 50. They were buried at Forest Hills Cemetery in Woodlawn, outside Birmingham. Their six surviving children were ages 10 to 24. After their passing 25 grandchildren were born, and to them were born 38 of their great-grandchildren. The number of great-great-grandchildren is still growing.

Monday, July 7, 2014

MONDAY'S MOTHERS - Augustine Melanie Laperle Degruy Fortier (1822-1872)

Augustine Melanie Laperle Degruy Fortier
[NOTE: I made a correction to daughter Alice's date of death - she was just three when she died.]

Laperle Degruy Fortier is my 3x-great-grandmother. She was the mother of eleven children, the grandmother of twenty-three, with dozens of great-grandchildren, like myself, that were descended from her. This is her story.

Augustine Melanie Laperle Degruy was born on January 17, 1822, in New Orleans, Louisiana. Her parents were Jean Baptiste Valentin DuFouchard Degruy (1751-1838) and Melanie Gaudin (1786-1853), both natives of New Orleans. Laperle, as she was called, was the third of six (or seven) children. She was baptized at the St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans at the age of 2; her older sister Felicite (1818-1832), just six years old, was her sister's godmother.

On Saturday, May 9, 1840, Laperle, age 18, married 27-year-old Jacques Omer Fortier (1813-1867) in New Orleans. Omer's father Jacques Omer Fortier (1792-1823), called Jacques, had died when Omer was just 10 years old, leaving his widow and three young children. Omer's mother Charlotte Adele Chauvin deLery (1796-1834) died just over 10 years later.

Omer's grandfather had once owned a sugar plantation in Jefferson Parish, along the Mississippi River, just outside New Orleans, as had his great-grandfather. When this grandfather, Jacques Omer Fortier (1759-1820), died his widow Aimee Marie Victoire Felicite Durel (1768-1843) became the owner of Pasture Plantation. The plantation was eventually sold to Minor Kenner and burned to the ground in 1870.

Omer was a clerk in New Orleans and the family lived at 256 Bourbon Street (now 1120 Bourbon Street). Laperle and Omer's first child was born just thirteen months after their wedding -  the first of eleven:
  • Adele Augustine Philomene Fortier - born June 1841; she died August 17, 1841, at the age of two months.
  • Ida Fortier - born September 13, 1842; she died January 29, 1848, at the age of 5 years old.
  • Alice Fortier - born April 6, 1844; she died just before her big sister Ida, on January 26, 1848, at just 3 years old.
  • Odalie Fortier - born August 31, 1846; she died at the age of 2 years on January 2, 1849.
  • Adele Augustine Philomene Fortier - born January 2, 1849; she died at age 37 on February 16, 1886, leaving a husband and two young daughters.
  • Omer Auguste Fortier - born June 30, 1855; he died at age 41 on April 13, 1897, leaving a widow and four children.
  • Felicite Odalie Fortier - born August 31, 1857; she died November 14, 1920, at the age of 63. Odalie is my great-great-grandmother. She had been widowed, and was survived by four adult children.
  • Gaston James Fortier - born September 1860; he died on June 3, 1917, at the age of 56. He was survived by his widow and four adult children.
  • Lucian M. Fortier - born September 1861; he died at the age of 23 on October 21, 1884.
  • Luciana Fortier - born September 1861, Lucian's twin; she died on July 19, 1942, at the age of 81, leaving three adult children.
  • Jeanette Fortier - born May 1868; she died July 7, 1941, at the age of seventy-three, survived by one adult son.
Laperle had eleven pregnancies go full term - that's over 400 weeks being pregnant! She had her first baby when she was nineteen, and her last when she was forty-six. Four of her little girls died by the age of 5.

When her husband died on December 19, 1867, after 27 years of marriage, Laperle was four months pregnant. She had at home six children, soon to be seven, ages 6 to 17. How she managed to raise seven children at a time when women generally didn't work outside the home, and if they did their pay would be very low. There was no day care, no government assistance. Both of her in-laws were dead, as were both of her own parents. How she managed is unknown.

Omer Fortier Family Tomb
St. Louis Cemetery #1
New Orleans, Louisiana
What is known is that she lived less than five years after her husband's death, dying on November 1, 1872, in New Orleans. She was just 50 years old. She was buried in the family plot in St. Louis Cemetery #1.

[Translation of Obituary - "Died, yesterday morning, at 2 o'clock, at the age of 51 years, Mrs. Widow OMER FORTIER, born Laperle Degruy. Her friends and those of her brother, A. O. Degruy, and Fortier families, are respectfully requested to attend without further invitation, her funeral which will begin this morning at 10 am sharp. Her body is (? perhaps available for viewing) at Amour and Union Streets."  From page 1, column 6]

Notice of Death - Laperle Dugruy Fortier
New Orleans Bee, November 2, 1872

Friday, July 4, 2014

HOLIDAY SPECIAL - Two Kids and a Flag (c. 1918)

Happy Independence Day, 2014!

Grider and Charles Horst (c. 1918)
Birmingham, Alabama
I love this picture of two of my grandmother's cousins holding an American flag, with all 48 stars proudly displayed. The children are the only children of Charles Frederick Horst (1880-1964) and Eliza Loy Dilworth (1885-1960). On the left is their daughter Frances Grider Flemming (1908-1995); on the right is her brother Charles Frederick Horst, Jr. (1911-1984). Charles, Sr. is the older brother of my great-grandmother Pearl Horst Flemming (1884-1961), making Grider and Charles my first cousins, twice removed.

The picture was taken in the front yard of their home in the Highland Park neighborhood of Birmingham, Alabama. It may have been taken to celebrate the Fourth of July. Another possibility is that the picture was taken in November 1918, in celebration of the end of World War I. If it were 1918 then Grider would be almost 10 and Charles would have just turned 7, the day before the war ended. The clothing is typical of the times, especially Charles' sailor suit. Grider, wearing knickerbockers (short pants with a cuff at the knee), was ahead of her time - girls were only beginning to try out typical boys' clothing in the 1910's.

The picture is such a moment of patriotism in a time long gone, almost a century ago. Have you taken pictures of your family and/or children that your descendants will be able to look at a hundred years from now and see how you celebrated your own patriotism?